Community Engagement

The academics involved with UNSW’s Development Studies discipline are engaged with a wide variety of community and professional networks and activities. In addition to the extensive advocacy work undertaken by the Centre for Refugee Research, members of our staff support a range of civil society bodies including the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and SHARE-Australia with which the School of Social Sciences often partners to host events. Several personnel are engaged with in-field training and provide advisory services for government and non-government organisations. Many staff members are also on editorial boards, for example, the Australian Journal of Human Rights, the South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, and the Global Public Health journal.

We welcome opportunities to connect and collaborate – whether in developing research partnerships, placing interns and volunteers, or working together on advocacy and educational events.


Linda Bartolomei has been actively engaged in refugee-related research since 2000 and has extensive links with refugee groups and advocacy networks in Australia and internationally. She is former Director of the UNSW Centre for Refugee Research (CRR) and a founding member of the Faculty’s Forced Migration Research Network. She recently completed a community-based protection project with refugee communities in partnership with UNHCR and the NGO, Bosco in New Delhi, India. Together with UNSW’s Eileen Pittaway and Richard Hugman, Linda is also a Chief Investigator on an ARC Linkage Project ‘The Meaning of Rights in Refugee Settlement’ in partnership with five key refugee settlement services – AMES Australia, Diversity, QPASTT, STARTTS and TMSG. Linda is the UNSW focal point for the Refugee Alternatives Conference being held at UNSW in February 2017 in partnership with the Refugee Council of Australia and supported by the UNSW Grand challenge on Refugees and Migrants.


As part of an ARC DECRA research fellowship, Tanya Jakimow is investigating the consequences of decentralised development programs in India and Indonesia. This project involves significant engagement with local social welfare organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations in Medan, Indonesia. In Dehradun, India, Tanya is working with PRAGATI to explore the experiences of urban ward representatives elected into seats reserved on the basis of caste and gender. The research is designed to facilitate knowledge exchange between different development actors.


Susanne Schmeidl has worked for over 20 years with a variety of organizations across academia/university, think-tanks, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations on consultancies and research projects in the areas of early warning and conflict prevention, forced migration, peacebuilding and conflict-sensitivity. She has authored and co-authored numerous working papers/reports for leading think-tanks and commissioned research reports/policy papers, and evaluations for various donor governments (e.g. DFID/UKAid; AusAID; Swiss Development Cooperation; Governments of Germany, Canada and Norway).


Krishna K. Shrestha is a development and environmental geographer. He has extensive and active links within and beyond academia, notably in Australia, Nepal and India. His research program is characterised by an expanding set of research partnership at the global level, involving the Australian government (such as Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - ACIAR), European research agencies (such as Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation - ESPA), North American public research agency (such as International Development Research Centre - IDRC), developing country think tanks (such as Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies - SIAS), and universities in the North as well as the South. He has active research partnerships with the University of Cambridge (UK), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden), Singapore National University, Tata Institute of Social Studies (TISS, India) and Tribhuvan University (Nepal). His research has been recognised through competitive grants, prestigious fellowships and awards from within Australia and outside. His focus has shifted to leading large projects involving international partnerships and considerable potentials for global impacts, including the co-leadership of the ACIAR funded project on ‘Enhancing livelihoods and food security in Nepal. Disaster justice is his evolving research theme, and he is forming a new alliance for research and policy engagement for disaster justice (with CARE Nepal), leading to signing of Memorandum of Understanding between UNSW, Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Engineering, and SIAS.


Pichamon Yeophantong has consulted on projects for the Africa Progress Panel and the Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute. She has also been a non-resident Senior Fellow in the ASEAN-Canada Research Partnership, a joint initiative by the Centre for Non-Traditional Security at Nanyang Technological University and the Canadian International Development Research Centre; and a Research Associate in the Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford University. In addition, as part of her ongoing research projects, Pichamon has worked with local NGOs in Asia in the area of natural resource governance.


Anthony Zwi has been a longstanding member of the ACFID-Universities Partnership and has participated in the Faculty of Public Health’s Human Resources Group to develop a strategy for enhancing training in global public health. He is a member of the Health and Fragile States Network and a variety of initiatives seeking to promote evidence-informed humanitarian action. He is actively involved in a range of publications including the Global Public Health Journal, The Lancet (member of editorial consultant committee), and the Human Resources for Health journal. Anthony is President of SHARE Australia, an NGO which seeks to promote awareness of and support social justice and health equity-oriented initiatives in the Asia-Pacific. He is also supporting the establishment of a new NGO, the Aminata Maternal Foundation, which will raise funds to support initiatives focused on gender equity and health in Sierra Leone, with an emphasis on maternal health and, in the current circumstances, the Ebola virus disease.